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Don't Get Ripped Off

Dirt bikes on a trailer
Road bikes parked along a suburban street
Riders on dirt bikes
Dirt bike rider in the air
Road bike on a lawn
Blue road bike
Rider riding dirt bike on a beach

Motorcycle sales are soaring, and so too are motorcycle thefts. But thanks to InsureMyRide, motorcycle theft insurance needn't spell highway robbery...

Motorcycling in Australia is booming. In fact, 2007 saw a massive 129,966 bikes, scooters and ATVs shifted off showroom floors. That's the Aussie bike market's 10th consecutive year of growth, in a surge of sales that's eclipsing even the massive bike boom of the early 70s.

Road bikes are rocketing out of dealerships in their thousands, while more and more people are now turning to off-road bikes for some wholesome, down-'n'-dirty weekend fun. Soaring fuel prices are also playing their part, with commuter bikes and scooters filling Aussie city streets like never before. Sales of scooters in particular have only just levelled out, after three consecutive years of tripling in volume!

However, while the motorcycle boom is great for everyone involved in bikes - from manufacturers to dealers, mechanics to riders - it's also, sadly, great for bike thieves too.

More bikes and scooters on the street, and more dirt bikes in garages or left tied to trailers or the backs of utes, means more opportunities for light-fingered crims. And unfortunately, like those flocking to life on two wheels in general, bike thieves are rising to the challenge in ever-greater numbers.

According to latest figures from Australia's National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC), motorcycles now represent one in 10 stolen vehicles, and almost a quarter of non-recoveries. Over the period from April 2000 to March 2008 motorcycle thefts increased by 19.9 per cent, while thefts of other passenger/light commercial vehicles (PLCs) dropped by a whopping 54.7 per cent.

The average recovery rate for a motorcycle thefts is just 35.4 per cent - well below the 84.8 per cent rate for PLCs - and bike thefts have spiked noticeably in the past three years. The sad bottom line is that in the year from April 2007 to March 2008, just under 7300 bikes were stolen Australia-wide - and of course that figure only reflects the thefts that are reported.

Luke Smith, the head of InsureMyRide's team of underwriters, knows only too well the perils of bike theft. "These days you're crazy if you don't insure your bike. There's absolutely no doubt that bike theft is on the rise." he says.

Bike theft is a major headache from all sorts of perspectives, and as someone who deals with that headache on a day to day basis, Smith knows that thieves predominantly fix their sights on two main favourites. "Dirt bikes are definitely a big target, because whether they're registered or unregistered, they're hard to identify - subsequently they're easy to steal, as they're unlikely to turn up on anyone's radar," he says. "The recovery rate for these thefts is very low, because they're salvaged for parts or they're kept off the road altogether," he adds.

Many dirt bike owners avoid the insurance question, because they feel their biggest risk is a relatively low-damage bingle out in the bush. Smith says this line of thinking ignores the facts. "The main risk associated with dirt bikes is theft," he says. "People rightly think if you crash a dirt bike you just get up and dust it off - but dirt bikes are the ones that are easily pinched and then never seen again. That's why theft insurance is essential." he adds.

Dirt bikes are also a prime target while strapped down to the back of a ute or trailer. "You wouldn't leave $12,000 in cash sitting in the back of your ute, but that's exactly what you're doing every time you leave your bike unattended." Smith says.

It's not unheard of for a thief to simply unhook a trailer and dirt bike from the owner's vehicle, hook it up to his own and roll off down the road, thousands of dollars better off for his five minutes of dishonest endeavour.

Sportsbikes are another hot proposition, says Smith. "Your R1s, your GSX-Rs, your Fireblades - they're all big targets because there's more value in their parts, and there's always a demand for track bikes," he says.

There's plenty you can do to help keep your pride and joy safe. A good quality disc lock should be an absolute minimum. Locking your bike to an immovable object with a sturdy chain provides extra protection - especially if your bike is on the lighter side, and easily manhandled into the back of a waiting van. Alarms, immobilisers and tracking devices have obvious benefits, as does the basic rule of thumb of keeping your machine out of sight.

"Use your common sense," says Smith. "Make sure it's inside a locked garage rather than outside it, or behind a locked gate rather than in front of it. Buy a disc lock and then remember to use it, and don't forget the little things like putting the steering lock on," he adds.

However, the sad fact is that if a thief has targeted your bike or scooter and he knows his 'trade' well, there's little you can do to prevent it becoming yet another statistic. And when you return to your bike to find an empty space, that's when you'll be glad you had the forethought to take out a theft insurance policy.

At InsureMyRide, we know in the past motorcycle theft insurance hasn't been all it's cracked up to be. We're bikers ourselves, and we know what we'd be looking for in a motorcycle theft policy.

An InsureMyRide theft policy has new-for-old replacement if you bought the bike new and it's less than a year old. If your bike is damaged through theft, we'll pay the authorised cost of repairs. And if your bike is stolen and then recovered, but it's unrideable, we'll even foot the bill to get it towed to an authorised repairer.

On top of all that, you can cover your bike for up to $2000-worth of accessories and modification, and you can even cover your riding gear. "There's optional personal valuables cover available too," says Smith. "If you're away on a weekend trip and your bike's stolen from the hotel car park, you can cover the stuff that's locked in your panniers, like your camera, a laptop, or an MP3 player - no one else does that," he adds. Throw in the ease and convenience of InsureMyRide's no-obligation, online quotes, plus InsureMyRide's super competitive rates - with a 25 per cent discount off our regular price when you buy online, and covering your bike has never been cheaper or easier.

So if you're fed up with being treated like a second-class citizen, or you've never had bike insurance because you always thought it was prohibitively expensive, check out InsureMyRide's website for yourself at www.insuremyride.com.au - and join the growing ranks of riders who opt for an insurer that knows what life on two wheels is all about. And most importantly - don't get ripped off!

InsureMyRide, specialist in Bike and Motorcycle Insurance, for road bikes, sports bikes, scooters, nakeds and classic bikes. Motorcycle Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 trading as InsureMyRide. Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO. InsureMyRide is a brand of AAI Limited. Please read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance and consider whether it is right for you.

*Off our regular price, excluding NSW CTP Green Slip.